Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Writing Liff

I know I promised no bits about the writing life, but it's my rule and I can break when I please -- or when someone like Brian writes:
What the hell -happened- to you? You used to be such a funny smartass writer. Now you're all serious. Are you suffering from Woody Allen Syndrome and trying to put out some big important message or something? Why don't you write more fun stuff like Cyberpunk?

First off, unless the writer in question is a completely self-centered and immature jerk, it's kind of unrealistic to expect that the writer at age 50 will write like he did when he was age 25. Even though I am a method writer, because of the simple passage of time, there are whole realms of thought and feeling that are no longer accessible to me.

Or in other words, I now find it easier to understand the mind of a sulphur-based aquatic organism living under the ice of Europa than the mind of a teenager living in my own basement.

Second, life happens to you. Things that seem enormously cool when you're young and ignorant lose their attractiveness after you gain first-hand experience. It's hard to relish the changeling ghoulishness of "That Only a Mother" when you've sweated over a bad amniocentesis result; hard to groove on cyborgs when you've seen someone you love kept alive by machines and implants; hard to find a fascinating charm in madness when you've tried to talk to a beloved relative who's on the bad side of the unbreakable glass, in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital.

Tonight we're going to the hospital to say goodbye to a friend. She won't know; she's been on brainstem function only for three weeks and they're disconnecting her respirator tomorrow. I don't think I'm going to feel like writing any wacky madcap hospital scenes for awhile.